1. What is the first thing you do to warm up?
A gentle physical stretch and shake out then some sirens on a “ng” sound or vvvs.
2. What’s your favourite song to sing?
Depends on the day but I always love a classic show tune!
3. Which singer do you admire the most and why?
I could never pick just one! I have an eclectic selection of favourites: Ella Fitzgerald, Sara Barielles, Audra McDonald, Jessie Mueller, Julie Andrews, Laura Osnes, Joyce DiDonato, Arleen Auger, Heather Harper... and that’s just the women! The main thing that draws me to a singer is their ability to tell stories with their voice.
4. Where did you train as a singers and/or vocal coach?
I took a part time course in Classical singing at Birkbeck College, then read Music at the University of Sheffield and did a Masters in Performance (Solo Voice Ensemble Singing) at the University of York. After playing children and fairies in operas and lots of choral singing, I succumbed to my love of show tunes and did a year’s Musical Theatre training at Associated Studios.
My informal training as a vocal coach began by overhearing my dad teaching singing. When I moved to Sheffield, my singing teacher, Vivien Pike, was an amazing mentor and got me into teaching. I’ve done various short courses with AOTOS, Voice Workshop and I’m always keen to learn more. One of the things I love about working for “The Sing Space” is being part of a team of curious coaches who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences and are committed to developing and reflecting on their practice. It’s great to be part of this community.
5. What’s your favourite thing about teaching singing?
Seeing students progress & enjoying their singing is the best thing. I love helping students develop a reliable technique which gives them lots of tools to draw on and “colours to paint with” when expressing themselves in song.
6. What is a common challenge you see in singers?
Maintaining consistent air flow and over thinking!! I can relate to both challenges and have plenty of practical advice for students to apply!
7. What’s the best tip you can give a singer?
A bit of Mary Poppins’ advice: “Find the fun, and snap, the job’s a game!”
8. How do you approach audition nerves?
Be prepared, keep breathing and power pose!
9. How would you save a tired voice?
10. Who’s the best singing teacher you’ve ever had?
I’ve learnt things from every teacher I’ve had. I think training with Yvonne Kenny was a real turning point in terms of my voice and my mindset as a singer. She’s brilliant and I always leave lessons with her feeling like I’ve achieved something and inspired to practise!
11. What do you think to people who say that you need different coaches for different styles of singing?
It depends what kind of level of skill you are at and what you want to get from your lessons. If a beginner comes to me and says I want to do rock or heavy metal: I can help them to get their voice functioning freely so they can sing whatever they like but that genre isn’t where my expertise lie, so I’d recommend another coach. If you want to do specialise in classical singing or musical theatre, I can help!
12. Do you think that anyone can learn to sing?
Pretty much, yes! Very few people are actually tone deaf. I’ve had quite a few students who come to their first lesson saying “I think I’m tone deaf” or “I really can’t sing” and within a few lessons they are feeling much more confident. Some people might struggle with pitch initially but I’ve seen students make huge improvements with practise and regular lessons.
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